CESDA partners EU, British Council to end open defecation in Abuja

THE Centre For Environmental Sustainability and Development Awareness (CESDA) has partnered with the European Union, British Council, Market Women and Men Association, the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board to end the scourge of open defecation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

CESDA Chief Executive Officer, Olusola Babalola, bemoaned the effect of poor sanitation, especially open defecation and cholera on residents.

He spoke at the public presentation of outcomes of a study designed to address effects of poor sanitation (open defecation and cholera) on under five children, at the weekend in Abuja.

Babalola, who advocated need for Nigerians to collectively take responsibility to stop the trend, explained that the initiative was set up due to reported cases of open defecation and persistent outbreak of cholera in the country, particularly in Abuja.

CESDA had initially visited some of the areas affected by open defecation in Abuja, including Utako Market, Life Camp Motor park, Bwari park and Gwarinpa-Kubwa expressway.

The initiative, he added, was aimed at cleaning, advocating and sensitizing marketers, drivers and Abuja residents on the effects and consequences of open defecation and cholera in the territory.

Noting that Nigeria is leading the global demographics in open defecation and outbreak of cholera, CESDA tasked government to take proactive actions while people should take responsibility in addressing the problems. 

“The project was implemented in FCT with the support of the European Union through the British council agents for citizen transformation (ACT) programme, aimed at reducing open defecation.

“The approach deployed relied on the declaration by the government to end open defecation by 2025 and ensuring that critical civil society voice is heard in the campaign process, especially in the area that requires administrative responses to resolve,” Babalola said. 

“Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari signed a presidential order 009 which is titled, “The Open Defecation-Free Nigeria by 2025 and Other Related Matters Order”. 

He added, “Our objectives are to encourage stakeholders in the sector to take actions to discourage open defecation in motor garages, parks and markets in FCT, to sensitize the general public on the effect of open defecation on child mortality, to enhance the commitment of stakeholders to achieving SDG 3-3-2, and to reduce the infant death caused by the effect of diarrhoea in children under five years of age.”

Babalola further disclosed that the project has recorded success stories after the sensitization program.

“The project has positively impacted target beneficiaries in different ways. Some of the achievements recorded are contributions towards the order given by the Minister of State for FCT for the cleaning of the FCT satellite towns, cleaning up exercise carried out in Mabushi village during the 2021 World Water Day. We also carried out public sensitization and sanitation in Utako Modern Market as well as Gwarinpa/Kubwa Expressway,” he said.

The Component Manager of the EU funded, British Council implemented, Agent for Citizens Driven Transformation Program (ACT) Hafsat Mustapha expressed delight at the completion of the program.

She described the project as successful.

    “The program is interesting actually, very fantastic. It’s one in a series of grant projects that we are funding. This is just one out of probably a hundred programs and to see it ends successfully is a great thing for us. We are happy that they are touching the lives of people within the small community that they work. We can hear and see evidence of outcomes and impact.”

    Speaking further about the initiative, she disclosed that ACT was designed to strengthen the capacity of select civil service organisations and also strengthen their capacity to respond to regulatory issues on civil society appropriation.

    “What we are doing is not solving the problems hundred per cent but contributing. Ours is a milestone contribution on whatever the big outcome everybody is hoping to see in future. At least, we can confidently say that we have done well,” she added.

    On her part, the National President of Market Men and Women Association Mrs. Felicia Sani applauded the initiative and said measures have been put in place to stop open defecation in the marketplace.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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